In Could 2020, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) introduced that it will cease promoting its Johnson’s Child Powder within the U.S. and Canada, citing a lower in demand. The corporate had been below stress from authorities organizations and the general public as a result of its talc-based merchandise, together with its Child Powder, had been linked to an elevated threat of ovarian and lung most cancers (mesothelioma).
J&J Urges Ladies to Use Talc-Based mostly Merchandise Whereas Ignoring Research Outcomes
For many years, J&J marketed its talc-based merchandise to ladies as a every day hygiene product, selling it as a logo of freshness, purity, and cleanliness. Its commercials touted the advantages of Child Powder as eliminating friction on the pores and skin, absorbing extra wetness, and serving to preserve the pores and skin dry and comfy. Ladies have been instructed to mud themselves with the powder to masks odors and “really feel recent.”
For years, the corporate used the slogan “A sprinkle a day retains odor away” when promoting its “Bathe to Bathe” talc-based product as nicely. It additionally warned customers that “your physique perspires in additional locations than simply below your arms,” and urged them to make use of Bathe to Bathe to “really feel dry, recent, and comfy all through the day.” The corporate even assured customers that the product may very well be used “throughout your physique.”
In the meantime, a number of scientific research revealed as early because the Nineteen Seventies (and a few even earlier) steered an affiliation between talc and ovarian most cancers. In 1982, the first epidemiologic study was carried out on talc powder use within the feminine genital space, with outcomes displaying a 92 % elevated threat of ovarian most cancers with ladies who reported genital talc use.
Extra research adopted that supplied further knowledge concerning the affiliation between talc and ovarian most cancers, and although some outcomes have been combined, practically all reported an elevated threat for ovarian most cancers related to genital talc use in ladies. But J&J didn’t warn customers concerning the potential hazard.
J&J Insists Its Merchandise Are Protected Whereas Juries Favor Plaintiffs
The primary talc trial involving ovarian most cancers and its hyperlink to J&J’s talc-based merchandise concerned a plaintiff who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006. She used J&J’s talc merchandise for over 30 years earlier than her analysis. Upon examination of her cancerous tissue, her medical doctors discovered talc current and decided that the talc was from the child powder the plaintiff used.
In the course of the plaintiff’s trial, medical medical doctors testified as to the hyperlink between talc and ovarian most cancers and famous that it had been the topic of analysis for many years. Since then, plaintiffs have filed hundreds of comparable lawsuits in opposition to J&J, with a number of of these trials leading to million-dollar verdicts for plaintiffs.
J&J’s merchandise have additionally been linked with mesothelioma, a lethal type of lung most cancers that’s brought on by publicity to asbestos, which may contaminate uncooked talc. J&J at present faces about 20,000 Child Powder lawsuits alleging its talc-based merchandise induced ovarian most cancers and mesothelioma. Most of those circumstances are pending in consolidated litigation within the U.S. District Court docket for the District of New Jersey, the place a couple of circumstances are being ready for early trial. In keeping with the corporate’s March 29, 2020, quarterly report, it’s also under investigation by 41 states for its advertising actions associated to those merchandise.
As J&J has not agreed to any settlement phrases to this point, it’s prone to face continued issues associated to those merchandise for the subsequent few years.